Hahns Peak Lake, Colorado
Lake Elbert, Mount Zirkel Wilderness, CO
Sometimes you can live in the shadow of a mountain so long that you forget about the clear sky beyond it. After a long day of packing, my companions began to relax and make camp near the lake but, with the sun getting low I figured it wasn't quite time for me to rest. Making my way up a nearby hill, I realized that the whole valley was in its shadow, leaving an imprint of its ridgeline on the opposite slope. I was even more glad when I got to the top of the hill, and got to witness a transcendentally stunning sunset which was entirely invisible to my friends down by the lake.
Mad Creek, near Steamboat, Colorado // This is Mad Creek, running tirelessly near Steamboat Springs from the peaks we hiked with its eyes firmly on the ocean. It will eventually flow into the Elk river, then into the Yampa, and then the Colorado. This water will go through the Horseshoe Bend and through the Grand Canyon. But by the time it reaches the ocean it will be reduced to just a trickle. And that's why this image is the first one up, because if this trip had a theme it was water, its beauty and its scarcity. The wildfires in Idaho, the lush forests in Washington, the sculptural peaks, crystal lakes, and even dunes all owe their existence to the forces of water on this planet, and that is incredible--and scary, considering how much we are changing things.